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Adjusting Your BMW Parking Brake
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Adjusting Your BMW Parking Brake

Nick Czerula

Time:

1 hours1 hrs

Tab:

$0

Talent:

***

Tools:

flathead screwdriver, jack, 17mm socket , plastic prying tool

Applicable Models:

BMW E90 3-Series (2006-11)
BMW E91 3-Series (2006-12)
BMW E92 3-Series (2007-13)
BMW E93 3-Series (2007-13)

Parts Required:

No parts required

Hot Tip:

Double check adjustment before finishing up

Performance Gain:

Proper parking brake function

Complementary Modification:

Replace parking brake cables

The parking brake is a drum system that is integrated into the rear brakes. The rear rotor hub flange acts as the drum and the brake shoes are mounted to the backing plate. You can adjust your parking brake with the wheels raised off ground. You do not have to remove wheels. A quick check of the parking brake is to pull up the parking brake lever and listen to the number of clicks it makes until stopping. If your parking brake lever makes 10 clicks or more, it needs to be adjusted.

Working in vehicle interior, lever bottom of parking brake lever up using a plastic prying tool.
Figure 1

Working in vehicle interior, lever bottom of parking brake lever up using a plastic prying tool.

Then pull up parking brake lever boot to detach from center console.
Figure 2

Then pull up parking brake lever boot to detach from center console. Pull up and over handle.

Check that parking brake lever is in released position.
Figure 3

Check that parking brake lever is in released position. Then release cable tension by engaging service lock. Press spring with flathead screwdriver until hook locks spring in compressed position. If parking brake lever is not fully released, you will not be able to engage service lock (green arrow)

Using a long flathead screwdriver, engage parking brake service lock.
Figure 4

Using a long flathead screwdriver, engage parking brake service lock. A small hook will grab and hold spring once properly engaged. (green arrow) Remove one wheel stud per rear wheel while vehicle is on ground. Lift and support rear of vehicle. See our tech article on jacking up your vehicle.

Rotate rear wheel until you can see parking brake adjuster when looking through hole of removed wheel stud.
Figure 5

Rotate rear wheel until you can see parking brake adjuster when looking through hole of removed wheel stud. (green arrow)

Using a flathead screwdriver, rotate adjuster to expand parking brake shoes until wheel cannot be turned, then back adjust off specified number of notches.
Figure 6

Using a flathead screwdriver, rotate adjuster to expand parking brake shoes until wheel cannot be turned, then back adjust off specified number of notches. For the driver side wheel, lever adjuster toward rear of vehicle. For the passenger side wheel, lever adjuster toward front of vehicle. Normally aspirated models: 8 notches. Turbocharged models: 9 notches.

Once you adjust both rear parking brake shoe adjuster, release service lock by pressing with flathead screwdriver and unhooking from hook.
Figure 7

Once you adjust both rear parking brake shoe adjuster, release service lock by pressing with flathead screwdriver and unhooking from hook. (green arrow) Working in vehicle interior, pull parking brake lever multiple times. Release lever and confirm wheels rotate freely. Release lever, then pull up 3 notches, checks that rear wheels do not rotate and parking brake warning light is ON. When done, install parking brake lever boot and rear wheels studs.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Johnny Comments: I have a problem with the service lock.
The spring just wont go down no matter how hard i press it and the handbrake is in released position while im doing it so now im stuck in the steps 3 and 4 :
Any ideas what could be the problem?
November 8, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Is the handle all the way down? If so, try moving it to the side as you push, it may be stuck on the hook. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Actiondan Comments: Used this guide to do my 320D 60 plate Coupe. Gleaming write up lads, easy to follow and worked no issues...
October 11, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
wowka Comments: In my case, right hand side drive, rear driver side wheel got to turn it downward to tighten up. Thank you. Saved time and money. And learned something ;
June 10, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Ed Comments: For the life of me I could not find the parking braje adjuster, I followed all steps and spent abou halfvan hour looking for the adjuster but all I could see was a couple of springs. Model isca 320d touring 2006. Many thanks.
May 28, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: if it is an E90, it should be where noted in the article. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
big al Comments: I have replaced rear parking shoes and discs and adjusted as per instructions on my bmw 3 series 92e and still cannot get parking brake to hold it goes up to stop 11notches any help would be great
May 26, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like you have either worn cables or the wrong parts installed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
MSD Comments: Figure 4: is there a knack to engaging the hook?
May 4, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Press down and move the spring toward the hook until it catches. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bmwtony Comments: Do you have to release the tension on the bottom of the hand brake or can I just adjust at the wheel if I to have to release the tension why is that?
April 24, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The tension has to be relieved at the lever in the vehicle. Otherwise the cables remains tight. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Vic Comments: Hi,

I've replaced the shoes on my BMW 120d and I've adjusted as stated in this post, however the hand break still travels all the way to the top and does not hold when on an incline. Is it possible that the hand break cables are stretched?
I'm not sure what it could be at all.
Your help will be appreciated.
April 5, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, it is possible. If the shoes are correctly, adjusted and it doesn't latch, suspect the cables. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
sipovka Comments: I just fitted new handbrake shoes and new discs, before fitting I put the handbrake in service mode, I ADJUSTED THEM AS YOU MENTION IN STEPS 5 AND 6. I still have a very long travel on the handbrake lever, is there anyway I can take up the slack.
March 21, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The cables may be worn, stretched, if you can;t get it to adjust. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
sipovka Comments: I just fitted new handbrake shoes and new discs, before fitting I put the handbrake in service mode, I fully adjusted the shoes and released them to allow the wheels to rotate freely, I still have a very long travel on the handbrake lever, is there anyway I can take up the slack.
March 19, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Steps 5 and 6 shows how to adjust the parking brake shoes. You will have to do that. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Sean Comments: Maybe I'm not following everything here: Figure 3 and 4 show the parking brake lever up, but the procedure says "released position". I would think released lever would be down. Can you clarify? Thanks!
February 15, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The handle can be up, when released. the spring is compressed until it reaches the hook, disengaging the lever. See step 3 & 4. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
vdubbed81 Comments: Why must the rear of the car be jacked up to adjust the brake?
December 23, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: To allow rotating if needed to access the shoe adjusters. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
heze Comments: have 2006 bmw 325 xi wagon replace front pads back e-brake sensors too my e-brake adjustment will not stay in place i have keep adjusting y is that plus abs light,red brake light and 4x4 light stays on can you tell me why
December 11, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would inspect the adjuster and springs. Something may be worn or broken. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
JDM Comments: I drive a 2008 BMW 328i with automatic transmission. I went to get a tire changed, and the mechanic told me to pull the e-brake so I did. He changed the tire and I got back in, started up the car and put it in drive. I pressed the gas petal and tried to accelerate. There was heavy resistance and it stuttered as I tried to drive out of the tire shop lot. My fuel gauge was at E so I figured it was the low gas. I drive across the street to a gas station and fill her up. I start it up once again and put it into drive. I step on the gas and nothing happens at all. It's stationary. When I was at the tire shop it actually drove. Not this time. I tried the gas about 3 times, each at about 2k rpms. This is when I finally realized that I still had the e-brake on. So I disengaged the e-brake and drove home. Now, it I have to brake harder than usual to stop completely, the car doesn't take off as good as it used to, when idling it rocks the car a little, and I might hear some engine knock sometimes. Also, the steering wheel is jittery, it moves right and left, back and forth really fast about a half inch while I'm driving but it doesn't seem to move the car on its own. What's wrong and how do I fix it?
October 14, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The parking brake should not cause an issue with normal braking, unless it is dragging, then you would have a feeling the brakes were always on. Remove the rotor and inspect the parking brake:

- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Wullie Comments: Really great ,spot on , thanks ever so Mutch was a doddle when I read this thread , cheers and many thanks. ,will pass it on yourse thankfully wullie
August 31, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
jay r Comments: thanks for the guide. Although I tighten the star wheel till the end the tires still move freely, i did change the rotors & pads last year and didn't do adjustment. My e-brake is not working and tightening does not resolve the issue? Possible Worn parking shoes?
June 26, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, the parking brake shows are likely worn out. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
pittstar63 Comments: Great explanation and easy to follow with the pictures. I ended up with my parking brake warning light staying on after following all the steps. What can I look for to get the light to turn off when the lever is released?
May 30, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check if the switch at the lever was disturbed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Medi damaj Comments: Hi
I have a bmw e90 2007 I'm facing problem with the brake when first time you use it the brake pedal is too hard and if you go backward it look like the car braking itself and if you drive it and brake it you can feel that the car is braking from one side and car start taking left and right unstable so I park a side and apply a strong press on the brake pedal then the brake will go back to normal and I you stop it for a while again same issue
May you please help me and tell me what is the problem
Thanks a lot
March 18, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This could be a faulty brake caliper or hose. I would jack the corner of the vehicle that is dragging the brakes, check if the brake caliper is hung up. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Marek Comments: Does this description apply to left or right-hand drive vehicles driver and passenger sides mentioned? Do the shoes tighten in the drum when the adjuster is screwed IN or OUT? Are these righ or left hand threads?
February 13, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We are US based, so left hand drive. However, I don't know of a difference.

For the driver side wheel, lever adjuster toward rear of vehicle. For the passenger side wheel, lever adjuster toward front of vehicle. Normally aspirated models: 8 notches Turbocharged models: 9 notches - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Chefchris Comments: What happens if a technician has adjusted the shoes without releasing the spring tension under the gaiter?
December 17, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Lever throw may be incorrect. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Phipps Comments: Ecellent guys!
May 18, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Brevy Comments: Happy days, found this guide on the web and it's spot on and simple enough to follow!! Thanks !!
April 21, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:21:52 AM